Thursday, October 2, 2008

Second HSF Fanfare

LCS-2 at the top and HSF-2 Hull A616 at the bottom of picture.

Well, everybody wanted to jump all over the news coming out of Alabama about the second HSF being revealed to the public, albeit not yet ready for seatrials. I was busy and instead just followed the news first as it came from the Mobile, Alabama Press-Register; then a bunch of blogs commenting on it; followed by the web industry news services MarineLink News, BYM Marine & Maritime News, and Marine Log; and lastly the AP and local media in Hawaii.

The first brief report came from the Press-Register Business Reporter Kaija Wilkinson in her blog on Sept. 29th: http://blog.al.com/live/2008/09/austal_launches_second_hawaii.html
I noticed people don't comment on the news blogs over in Alabama like they do in Honolulu, so I left a couple of accurate comments based on information released by the industry news services.

The second report was a complete article the next day also from Kaija Wilkinson:
http://www.al.com/business/press-register/index.ssf?/base/business/122276615047900.xml&coll=3
"Austal turns out second Hawaii Superferry"
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
By KAIJA WILKINSON

"...The yet-to-be-named vessel should be floated off the dry dock at Atlantic Marine this morning, then will head back to Austal for final work before sea trials begin later this year.

The ferry is part of a two-vessel, $190 million deal Austal landed in April 2004. While early plans tentatively called for up to five ferries, the inter-island service has been slow to start because of legal and weather complications, and Hawaii Superferry Inc. now plans to operate just two ships.

The first boat, named Alakai for "ocean path," is sailing with far less than half its capacity...

Alakai has been averaging about 300 passengers and 100 vehicles per voyage in the past several weeks...

...The first vessel...has been a target of fierce environmental opposition...

...In April, a preliminary audit found that the state bowed to pressure from Hawaii Superferry when it allowed the company to start operations without the review. The audit is ongoing...

...At 113 meters (373 feet) long, the vessel launched Monday is 6 meters (19.8 feet) longer than Alakai, thanks to a ramp Austal added to its stern, making it suitable for military use. Industry watchers have said leasing the vessel to the military is a possibility, though the company said it is sticking by its plan to operate it commercially...

...Austal is awaiting word on more military work, including a major contract to build fast ferries for the U.S. Army and Navy." [Blogger note: Incat builds the better ship.]

The most noteworthy blog on this story was from Joan Conrow on Kauai at:
http://kauaieclectic.blogspot.com/2008/09/musings-superferry-low-down.html

Of the three industry news services, Marine Log had the best pic above, and BYM had the best article, with lots of good spec data: http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=43453
"Austal launches 113 Metre advanced high speed catamaran"
Tuesday, 30 September 2008

"...With a service speed of 40 knots...

While sharing a similar specification to its sister vessel, the 113 metre high speed ferry is fitted with a 20 metre stern quarter, bi-fold ramp, for use in austere ports without shore-side loading facilities. The hydraulically operated aluminium ramp has a clear width of 4.5 metres and is designed for 42 metric ton trucks.

Powered by four MTU 20V 8000 M70 [diesel engines]...

Delivering up to 12,200 bhp (9100 kW) of continuous power...the MTU 8000 Series engines...

Austal USA has also installed...20V 8000 Series MTU diesel engines in its 127 metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 2) “Independence”...

Sea trials of the second Hawaii Superferry will be completed in November and December, however the contractual delivery date is not until March of 2009. See Fast Ferry images."

Regarding the "9,100 kW of continuous power" mentioned above, my comments on the Press-Register blog were:

"The ship's 4 diesel engines put out 9,100kW of energy or 9.1MW for each engine. Similar to the kind of diesel engines used in power plants. That's is enough energy to power 6,750 homes each. What a waste on unneeded and weakly demanded leisure.

BTW, speaking of weakly demanded leisure. The Austal ferry in Oman has been carrying loads of 5 people on 5 to 6 hour trips. Even the Sultan of Oman can't subsidize that indefinitely.

The waterjets were an ingenius maritime development, but with 4 or more diesel engines and with the aluminium hulls, this whole Australian business model is flawed and diametrically inconsistent with economic external event developments in the world.

It is just a matter of a little time and diminished political influence before that becomes apparent."

By the above industry news service reported specs, this second vessel is a supped-up, faster, and more militarily versatile vessel than the Alakai; "the Alakai on steroids." No doubt lessons learned with the hull of the Alakai last winter were also applied to this second vessel...although one can still remember the public comments of the first class welder Wayne Jenkins regarding his work and observations while working on the hull in the engine compartment areas of this sister ship, as he stated in his public interview. Nevertheless, this second vessel, for lack of a better name, the 'Koa,' is clearly Austal-USA's best foot forward as a construction demonstration project and prototype for their entry in the JHSV competition, subsidized with lower-interest MARAD loan guarantees and a National Defense Features DoD grant application. Whether this can compete with Incat's superior design remains to be seen.

The local media did also carry a brief AP report on the Press-Register article, and today the following basic video report was done by KGMB-9: http://kgmb9.com/main/content/view/10179/40/

My next post will be about McCain's mention of LCS in the debate with Obama,
Aloha, Brad

3 comments:

Ohana List said...

Hi Brad,
One thing that really confuses me about the LCS model is how are these ships protected? There's not the ability to have a typical Naval formation with destroyers, support ships, fuel etc since the LCS can go 40 knots and the others can go maybe 22 knots tops. And with the aluminum hull, it would seem that just one bomb, missile or torpedo would absolutely take this type of design to the bottom of the sea.

fastshipfan said...

Hey Brad
I'm interested to know what's behind your assertion that Incat ships are better than those from Austal (and others). The last two ships built by Incat were for a Japanese company and delivered after Alakai. Yet the fact is those two 112m vessels have already proven not to be successful - the operator is premanently withdrawing them from service at the end of this month: http://www.ferrypubs.co.uk/news.asp?cat=24
Suggests to me that they are no better

MauiBrad said...

In response to 'fastshipfan,' see my next post of October 2, 2008,
"Quick Case Study on Ferries in Japan"

Aloha, Brad